Ascent of man chart dating
The Ascent of Man is a remarkable program. Bronowski wants to talk about how humanity has come to understand space, and how this understanding of space underpins our knowledge of structure. Science can solve some problems, and can do so very well. Thus both our creative drive and our knowledge are involved in this quintessentially human activity.
However, if one looks carefully, one can see that it is the same but smaller image that tails off to the left not any ancestral forms. This not only gives him a knack for similes, but helps him to explain how science is fundamentally creative.
Less controversially, he also has some negative words to say about Hegel. To be more accurate, the Pictorial Ascent of Man kind should really consist of a line of females. Strictly speaking there are no frogs in our ancestry. The Medieval Christians achieved a magnificent solution by placing the buttresses on the outside, thus leading to the towering, open interior of Reims. However, the point is made that our ape-like ancestors had ancestors of their own - back to the time when they lived in the seas.
We thus begin with Homo erectus, learning how to chip away stone to make tools. The Ascent of Man is a landmark in the history of science education and of documentary making, and a stirring vision of the progress of humanity by an brilliant and sympathetic man. Man alone leaves traces of what he created.
This would never fly on television today, at least not in the States. One of my favorite of these was a sequence of microscopic shots of human cells with Pink Floyd who contributed music jamming chaotically in the background.
The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski
He goes to the Alhambra, and analyzes the symmetry in the tiles of the Moorish Palace. This progression represents better and better understandings of the structural properties of stone, of the force of gravity, and of the distribution of weight. As he explains, both the portrait and these readings are interpretations of their subjects. This strikes me as terribly important. As Bronowski notes, this simple ability, to chip away at a stone until a cutting edge is left, is a remarkable indication of human uniqueness.
It refers to the whole of the human species. Yes, there are some parts of this that are outdated.
The cinematography is also excellent. Unwittingly, this image may seem to imply that progress from male to female has a negative connotation. This is unavoidable, and is in fact a tribute to the ideals Bronowski championed. But like in any good story, the telling is half of it. This means spreading a understanding and an appreciation of science, as his programs tries to do.
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